Singapore can play an important role in domestic funding plans

Updated: Jan 21 2007, 09:17am hrs
Lawrence Wong is the Head of Listing at the SGX. Wong also sits on the Council for Corporate Disclosure & Governance and also serves on the Appeal Advisory Committee for Securities & Futures Act, Financial Advisers Act, Insurance Act, Trust Companies Act and Business Trust Act. He spoke to Ashish Rukhaiyar and Avishek Maitra. Excerpts:

The Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) has made an offer to acquire a stake in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Where do you see synergies merging from

Firstly, India is a growing economy, just like China and eventually every company will have to look for further funding. At that time, the choice will be between funding from within the country or from outside. I think Singapore can play an important role at this juncture. According to me, it always makes sense to go abroad and find funding from a country where there is an industry or a sector cluster. This provides more opportunities for joint ventures or finding suppliers or customers. I think many companies would come to Singapore on this basis.

How is the regulation scenario in Singapore as far as overseas companies are concerned How easy is it for a foreign company to list on SGX

The regulatory framework is very simple in Singapore. A company can come from any part of the world and list on SGX if the accounting standards are met. The US GAAP and the other international accounting practices, including Singapore GAAP are being followed by most of the large companies and all these are recognised in Singapore. As such, the regulations have been framed in a way, which allows companies of various backgrounds and even business trusts to list on the stock exchange and raise money. Our processing time is also fast. On an average, it takes three months to process a case.

Which are the other Asian exchanges with which you currently have some kind of tie-up

I wouldn't call it a tie-up but we do have working relationships with the stock exchanges of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Tokyo and Taiwan. We are also in talks with the Shanghai stock exchange. We are also exploring other avenues, but I would like to mention that we don't believe in having a relationship without any business sense. Tie-ups should make sense and there is no point signing MoUs if there is no mutual transfer of information and skill.

Currently, how many Indian companies are listed on SGX And have more companies shown interest for an SGX listing

Currently, there are only two Indian companies - Berger Paints and Meghmani Organics - that are listed on SGX. If the process goes on smoothly, then two more Indian companies might list on SGX in the near future. Their merchant bankers are already in talks with the exchange. I can't name the companies, but one belongs to the real estate sector, while the other one is a conglomerate.

SGX has been trying hard to attract more foreign companies. In this effort, do you also provide a separate trading platform for smaller companies like the AIM platform of the London Stock Exchange

We have two separate boards - main board and second board. The second board is for smaller companies. The requirements for listing on the second board are lesser than that for the main board, but the processing time is the same.

Lastly, have you arrived at a valuation as far as acquiring a stake in BSE is concerned

Actually, I am not the right person to comment on that as a different team is looking after the deal.